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Inside this issue
Incentives Boost U.S. Auto Sales in July
Autos and Construction Fuel US Job Growth
Illinois Auto Dealers Association Selects NADART as Preferred Retirement Plan Provider
SUV Back in Vogue as Americans Rekindle Old Love Affair
Ford F-150 Targets MPG Title with Super Fuel Economy Option
Supplier Relationships Cost Top 6 Automakers in U.S. $1.4B in Profit, Study Says
Senate Bill Targets Auto Execs Lax About Recalls
NHTSA: GM Website Provided 'Incorrect' Recall Information to Some Owners
Mercedes-Benz's Autonomous Driving Features Dominate the Industry -- and Will for Years
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Incentives Boost U.S. Auto Sales in July

U.S. auto demand roared ahead in July thanks to healthy summer sales incentives, with top auto makers posting near double-digit increases over last year on top of already-high levels in the U.S. Car makers sold 1.435 million vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 9.1% from a year earlier and lifting the seasonally-adjusted annualized selling rate to 16.48 million, from 15.76 million vehicles in 2013, according to researcher Autodata Corp. New car sales have been a bright spot for Fiat and the U.S. economy in recent years. Some analysts believe the industry is near its peak for normal demand following deep declines in 2008 and 2009. The National Automobile Dealers Association said demand may continue to rise. "There is a lot of upside potential for new-vehicle sales during the final five months of the year," said Steven Szakaly, NADA's chief economist. "We've had an agonizingly slow recovery that has in many ways been led by the automotive sector, but the overall economy is finally picking up," he said. "The housing market is stronger, gasoline prices have been relatively stable and interest rates—while rising recently—are still low compared to historical levels." Mr. Szakaly predicts 2014 sales of 16.4 million new vehicles, and rising to 16.8 million vehicles in 2015.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Autos and Construction Fuel US Job Growth

Automakers helped drive hiring in July. In a month when auto plants usually shut down to retool for next year's models, the sector added a solid 14,600 jobs, according to the government's employment report released Friday. That increase accounted for more than half the 28,000 manufacturing jobs added last month, the strongest such gain since November 2013. Spurring the hiring has been stronger auto buying. Sales for Chrysler, Toyota, Ford and Nissan each rose by double-digits in July compared with the same month last year. More people are borrowing to buy all of those cars and trucks. The Credit Union National Association said that among its members, auto loans for new vehicles have risen 19.4 percent year-over-year from June 2014.
Source: Associated Press
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Illinois Auto Dealers Association Selects NADART as Preferred Retirement Plan Provider

NADART and the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association (IADA) announced today a new strategic partnership. As IADA’s preferred retirement plan provider, NADART will provide customized retirement plans to its member dealers and dealership employees. “We are excited to partner with NADART,” said IADA President Peter Sander. “Together we share a commitment to all franchised car and truck dealers in Illinois. NADART will provide the services and support needed to and help employees save for a successful retirement.”

NADART, the retirement plan and financial services division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, delivers a selection of investment and employee benefit options specifically designed for dealer businesses. “We look forward to providing our core retirement plan offerings to support IADA and its member dealers. NADART’s retirement plan offerings are unique to the marketplace,” said Betsy Piper/Bach, NADART vice president and chief operating officer.

Illinois joins 11 other state dealer associations, which include Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina that have recently selected NADART as their preferred retirement plan provider.
Source: NADART
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SUV Back in Vogue as Americans Rekindle Old Love Affair

The SUV is dead. Long live the SUV. Not so long ago, the Sport Utility Vehicle seemed on the road to extinction. When the economy cratered and gasoline prices surged, droves of Americans parked their land yachts or traded them in for something small and peppy. It became tacky to drive around in a Hummer getting 15 miles to the gallon. Now SUVs are back in vogue. For the first time in decades, more people are buying SUVs than sedans. Two forces are driving the revival. One: Americans are feeling a little jauntier as the economy improves and are willing to indulge in a lifestyle upgrade. Two: Automakers have released a blizzard of new models that are good to look at, drive like sedans or sports cars and sip fuel -- at least compared with their hulking predecessors.
Source: Bloomberg

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Ford F-150 Targets MPG Title with Super Fuel Economy Option

The new aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 coming from Ford Motor Co. this fall will try to recapture fuel economy bragging rights from Chrysler's Ram 1500 by offering a "super fuel economy" or SFE package. The 2015 Ford F-150 has two targets to hit: It has to get at least 26 mpg highway to claim most fuel efficient gasoline-powered pickup and 29 mpg to claim the overall. Ram owns both titles with the gasoline-powered Ram 1500 HFE and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Ford has not released fuel economy information on its new truck.
Source: Automotive News

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Supplier Relationships Cost Top 6 Automakers in U.S. $1.4B in Profit, Study Says

The six largest automakers in the United States could have earned $1.4 billion more last year if they had improved their relationships with suppliers, a study says. The carmakers would have received such benefits as more advanced technology and dedicated supplier resources, better communication and quicker time to market, according to Planning Perspectives Inc., which conducted the research. In the case of General Motors Co., operating profit might have jumped by as much as $152 per vehicle, or about $400 million for the year. As little as a 10 percent improvement in an automaker's working relations with suppliers would have increased profit by at least $58 per vehicle, said Planning Perspectives. The company conducts an annual study gauging the relations between the automakers and the companies that supply more than two-thirds of the parts, components and technology that go into a vehicle. Ford Motor Co., GM and Chrysler Group lag behind their Japanese competitors in the annual survey, said John Henke, CEO of Planning Perspectives in suburban Detroit.
Source: Bloomberg

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Senate Bill Targets Auto Execs Lax About Recalls

A U.S. senator who led hearings into General Motors Co.'s delayed recall linked to at least 13 deaths introduced legislation Friday that would allow for up to life in prison for auto executives who delay callbacks for defects that result in fatalities. It's the toughest measure yet proposed in the wake of GM's recall crisis, and reflects the anger and frustration of some in Congress, which has held four hearings on the matter. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who heads a Senate Commerce panel, introduced the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Enhancement Act, a six-year highway reauthorization that would make significant auto safety changes. The bill “gives federal prosecutors greater discretion to bring criminal prosecutions for auto safety violations and increases the possible penalties, including up to life in prison for violations that result in death,” her office said.
Source: The Detroit News
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NHTSA: GM Website Provided 'Incorrect' Recall Information to Some Owners

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said late Friday that General Motors was providing owners of some recalled cars with “incorrect or misleading” information because website searches showed no recalls for some vehicles. The auto safety agency said GM had revised the language on its owner website where owners can type in their vehicle identification number to determine if a vehicle has been recalled. Some GM recalled vehicles in campaigns where GM hadn't yet begun the recall or had available parts were listed in the VIN database as having no outstanding recalls. The issue was brought to NHTSA's attention by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Source: The Detroit News
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Mercedes-Benz's Autonomous Driving Features Dominate the Industry -- and Will for Years

Silicon Valley is making waves with news about self-driving cars. But the most-advanced vehicles that consumers can actually buy today came out of Stuttgart. When Mercedes-Benz debuted its new Intelligent Drive package of safety and driving-assistance systems last fall, it raised the bar for the rest of the industry. The features on the 2014 S-class sedan are the most advanced in a production vehicle. And Mercedes-Benz appears likely to stay ahead of the competition for several years.
Source: Automotive News
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Quotable

"We've had an agonizingly slow recovery that has in many ways been led by the automotive sector, but the overall economy is finally picking up. The housing market is stronger, gasoline prices have been relatively stable and interest rates—while rising recently—are still low compared to historical levels."

   
-- NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly, commenting on auto sales, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 1

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